Indoor cameras will monitor what’s going on inside your home when you’re away or want to keep tabs on little ones sleeping in another room. The best outdoor cameras, like a good doorbell camera, offer that same home-monitoring peace of mind. They also work to deter trespassers” target=”_blank and help keep the things outside your home safe, all while enduring rain, pollen, heat, cold and other weather extremes.
From there, you’ll want to consider video quality, storage options, end-to-end camera feed and storage encryptions, two-way talk and compatibility with smart home ecosystems like Alexa, Google and Apple HomeKit. There are also nice-to-have features such as sirens, lights and facial recognition that you may want to compare as well.
Video quality should be a major consideration when buying an outdoor security camera. In simplest terms, your camera won’t be effective if the only footage being recorded is grainy and unreadable.
The higher the resolution, the better the video quality. Most home security cameras on the market now have 1,080p resolution, but others even have 2K resolution (like the Arlo Pro 4) or 1,536×1,536 resolution (like the Arlo Video Doorbell). Just remember, the higher the video quality, the more bandwidth it takes up and the more likely your camera is to experience lag times or glitches.
This, of course, is a big one. You don’t want anyone peeping on your property or hacking into your camera. Wireless home security cameras can be more susceptible to hacking due to their connectivity to Wi-Fi networks and remote access. Wired home security cameras are more secure. (Read more about the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless systems here.)
Local vs. cloud storage
Not all video storage is equal. You have two main options and picking one is up to your personal preference. There’s cloud storage, which sends your video footage to a remote server to be saved, and local storage, which relies on a separate accessory or piece of hardware, usually a microSD card, to hold any footage you’d like to save. Usually, cloud storage requires a monthly fee.
Battery-powered vs. wired
Battery and wireless cameras versus wired options are a matter of taste, since both types have pros and cons.
Wireless options are usually easier to install and operate, and often use cloud storage, so you can access your footage from anywhere. Wireless security cameras have their own power supply, so even during an internet or power outage, they can still record and save footage. One of the biggest disadvantages, though, is you’ll need to manually change the batteries or charge them every so often, unless you get a solar-powered home security camera.
Wired cameras are hardwired to a steady connection, so they don’t need to be recharged and can often boost a high-quality video resolution. They tend to be more reliable, secure and consistent in video quality while not requiring monthly cloud storage fees. On the negative side, wired home security cameras often need to be professionally installed and don’t integrate with smart home systems like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.